When we think of anti-aging, our minds often go to serums or diet. Well, it turns out certain types of exercise could turn back the clocks at a cellular level.
A recent study in European Heart Journal found that endurance training like swimming or biking and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) had greater anti-aging benefits than resistance training or doing nothing at all.
The researchers compared the effects of endurance training (walking or running), HIIT, and weightlifting in 124 adults, ages 30 to 60. One group continued their normal routine of not exercising while the other three groups participated in 45-minute sessions three times a week for 26 weeks.
They found that those who participated in the endurance training and HIIT had increased telomere lengths and a higher concentration of the enzyme telomerase (involved in maintaining telomeres), whereas those who didn't exercise or lifted weights did not. As we look for innovative ways to slow the aging process, a primary focus is on preserving and lengthening our telomeres, the caps on our chromosomes.
Telomeres are critical to healthy cell functioning, cellular aging, and regeneration. Naturally our telomeres shorten with time, which can lead to signs of aging like wrinkles and gray hair, as well as increased risk for heart disease and cognitive decline. But research suggests by managing stress, eating a plant-based diet, and choosing endurance or HIIT workouts, we could slow the aging process or even reverse it by lengthening our telomeres.
While this study suggests endurance training and HIIT are the optimal workouts for anti-aging benefits, "Resistance exercise should be complementary to endurance training rather than a substitute," co-author of the study Christian Werner, M.D., told Health.
If you are looking for an easy way to incorporate anti-aging HIIT workouts into your routine, you only need 12 minutes, and no equipment is necessary. You can feel good knowing that you're dedicating your energy and sweat to healthy aging, and who wouldn't want that?